You told your 2nd grade teacher that your favorite activity was swinging because it didn’t involve sweating. Mostly it was because you thought there could be nothing more beautiful than the moments the wind ran into your cheekbones to part your eyelashes: and you’d smile because you knew God was kissing the very cheeks He made. There was something in your heart that always longed for Him, and you would always ask Him questions. Like, is the shape a mosquito bite leaves on your arm analogous to the walk of life? Or, did Eve have a sense of humor; and would she make you laugh? Do I make you laugh? Your grass tickles my toes and sometimes my belly when I tumble down big hills, how come it looks like I got whipped all over when I finally let the green strands part from my body?
Sometimes you would sit in front of your closet and stare at all the hand-me-down shoes you loved so much, and you would ask God if you were real. And you would forget that you were five years old and that all you really wished was to eat mac n’ cheese in your leotard and tights. And he told you He loved you. But in this kind of way that made your heart seem to get really hot, and the palpitation was the same, you just realized you were alive and your dreams were gifts of a Father, and your round little belly was one of His favorite things to tickle. And you loved to laugh with Him.
Somewhere, sometime, someone turned the lights off for bedtime and they just never turned on again. You thought maybe they’d come on again, so you earnestly believed in the future, but your bones pleaded to be reminded of the light they had constantly been soaking in before. It was sort of like when you jumped on that trampoline that one day and the butterflies in your stomach stayed on the ground while your head flew up into the sky; your hands pulled on by the passing clouds, your feet aching for the very ground that made you fall on your knees later that day. Was I of the sky? Or of the earth? Did I write poetry of bread and water, or oil and shade? You were sweating.
People said they felt like they were talking and no noise was coming out of their mouth. Others had eyes that looked like the sun had drunken all their water. Mostly, you noticed they liked to bump into each other and bounced off of each other’s shoulders; you began to love the way even when their eyes were hidden behind hats, scarves, or those strange lines left by… permanent marker? Their bodies were drawn towards each other.
It had seemed as though someone or something had permanently locked the off switch on that light of your bedroom that one night you went to sleep so many years ago. At night, you began to forget how to read your dreams because you were taught your eyes could strain if you tried reading without light. Your ears began to curl and melt into the sides of your head because something had once said ‘God is light’ and sometime then you said ‘I am not’; inadequacy grew gardens on the sides of your body and you thought maybe your dad had left the grey and static channel on, the one that would help him sleep when your sister was a newborn, and that’s all you could hear now. No,
You walked out.
You were sweating. Every pore loved singing again.
Your feet hurt. You loved the way the dirt crawled up and hugged the little hairs on your legs.
And the grass…
Climbing onto the swing, you began to cry. Your palpitation had never changed. The lights had been turned off, but your feet were moving.
So you tell your 2nd grade teacher that you love running. Because the sweat trickling down your spine remind the pores in your body that they are breathing.
Beautiful, because you can move.
And your mouth opens to gulp down the wind, whose knuckles had memorized the grooves on the door by the light switch: it had been knocking every single day.
Dad, am I?
And the grass grows silent, and my legs can feel its tickle. And we make each other laugh.